Ride

Tarantula

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Here's where the plot got lost, an abomination of '70s/Lenny Kravitz clich├ęs, full of third- and fourth-rate tunes and, ultimately, bad blood. Where Carnival of Light was a decent appropriation of late-'60s influences, here it's mere mimicry, going through the motions. No focus, no spirit, almost no quality songs -- Smaller Faces. Perhaps falling out of favor with the British press, only to be stomped upon by the likes of the Oasis phenomenon, nailed the coffin shut. The band even subbed for Oasis openers the Verve during one of the band's tours, before the recording of Tarantula, signifying a changing of the guard. Not helping the matter was a lack of ideas -- and a producer -- before entering the studio. Festering tension between Mark Gardener and Andy Bell came to a head, with Gardener walking out during the mixing process; just before the record was released in March of 1996, the band announced its breakup. Though "Black Nite Crash" and "Dead Man" are sub-Stones, sub-Faces and, well, sub-Ride, they're not half bad. Those are the bright spots, albeit relatively speaking. Gardener checks in with one lone song, the mediocre "Deep Inside My Pocket." And as Ride never had great lyricists, the words are just plain awful throughout, not even worth printing. Be warned: There's even a song detailing the myriad woes of life on the road. Most of the songs sound half-realized, sketches of what could only amount to decent material with the necessary retooling and enthusiasm. U.K. label Creation obviously didn't care for it, as it was deleted a week after its release. Unfortunately, it shouldn't have been released at all. Some might say it shouldn't have been recorded, either. (Ignition's 2001 U.K. edition adds the three OK B-sides off Black Nite Crash.)

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